1. Manali Depart Manali early morning for Kaza (10 to 12 hours) Kaza - overnight in hotel/guesthouse
2 Kaza Today we first head to the Ecosphere office where we will get more details about Spiti and our time in Spiti along with insights into some of Ecosphere’s initiatives in the Spiti region. Do drop into the Sol Café below our office for the best coffees and cakes in town J Today is a day to acclimatize and get used to the altitude. We head to Kee monastery and further onto Kibber village today. For the brave hearted one can opt to mountain bike* today either starting from Kaza to Kibber or back from Kibber to Kaza. Option of signing up for learning to Cook like a Local* Once back in Kaza one can spend the rest of the evening exploring the Kaza market or check if the Sol Café is running a movie night J Kaza - overnight in hotel/guesthouse
3 Kaza Today we head to the highland village of Langza by jeep (1 hour). Adorned by a Buddha statue and a temple Langza is a picture perfect village. If keen before starting our trek to Komic we can spend a bit of time exploring the village. The mainstay of this village in the olden days was mud craft. Vessels of all shapes and sizes were produced here and supplied to the entire valley for household use. However this art has largely died down. Ecosphere works with the few remaining potters to help conserve this art. For those interested in delving into their creative side – one can spend a bit of time with the local potter and learn the basics of Spiti Pottery*.
We then start our trek to the highest village in Asia- Komic ( 3 to 4 hours – please note the jeep will drop you at langza and from there you will be trekking to Komic and Demul on Day 4 with your day pack and any other stuff that you may require for the next few days till Day 6). Enroute we cross the highest post office in the world an ideal opportunity to post a letter back home (remember to pick up a postcard from the Ecosphere office on Day 2!) Packed lunch can be had en route.
Komic is adorned by a monastery which we will visit before heading back to the village below where we will spend the night in homestays. After visiting the monastery we can spend the rest of the day exploring the village or just relaxing at the highest village in Asia and getting to know our hosts. Komic – overnight in homestay
4 Komic Today we head to the village of Demul which is fast becoming Spiti’s model sustainable village. We can either trek (5 to 6 hours) or have the option to adopt the local mode of travel - sit astride Yaks* (3 to 4 hours). Today’s route is along the grazing lands of the village livestock. This is also the hunting ground of the elusive snow leopard and Himalayan wolf. While chancing upon these is hard, one does usually get to spot the Blue Sheep and Red Fox and if lucky pugmarks of the 2 predators.
Demul is a beautiful village sent on the highlands of the Spiti Valley, famous for the local brew – Arak and folk performances*. A flavor of both can be had during your stay in Demul Village. Demul - overnight in Homestay
5 Demul Today we spend the day immersing ourselves into village life and volunteering either on the on-going activities in the village OR herding the village cattle OR if there are any development/ conservation needs in the village. One can also explore the village and learn more about Ecosphere’s various initiatives in the village today. Demul - overnight in Homestay
6 Demul Spend the rest of the day exploring the village or volunteering in the village activities. Demul- overnight in homestay
7 Demul Today we can trek (2 to 3 hours) to a spectacular vantage spot which offers a view of close to 18 villages of the Spiti valley. It's a steep ascent to close to 5000 mts but definitely could be one of your trip highlights. There is also the option of taking a yak* and make this ascent easier J For those keen on exploring and learning more about how the wool of the famous Spiti Yaks is used – join a class on how to spin your own yak wool into beautiful yak ropes* Later we bid farewell to the village of Demul and return to Kaza for the night Kaza- overnight in hotel/ guesthouse
8 Kaza Today we take the jeep to Dhankhar. Dhankhar is the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankhar houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankhar Fort, which housed the royal family of Spiti, still remain. A visit to the monastery, fort and other subsidiary temples leaves one spell bound at the traditional architectural marvels. The monastery has some interesting wall murals and thangkas, which are in an urgent need for restoration. The Dhankhar Monastery was recently declared as one of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World, by ‘The World’s Monument Fund’. Ecosphere has been working closely with the monastery to try and raise funds for its restoration.
One can trek to the Dhankhar lake as well if keen and time permits. Later today we head to Tabo, famous for its monastery that celebrated 1000 years in 1996. Known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas, we visit the monastery today. Spend the day exploring Tabo today –one can also trek to the meditation caves if keen. We return to Kaza and can spend the evening shopping for souvenirs to take back for friends and family. Do remember to visit the Ecosphere shop which has an interesting array of handicrafts and Spiti souvenirs JOption of signing up for learning to Cook like a Local* Kaza - overnight in hotel/guesthouse
9 Kaza Share jeep/ bus back to Manali (10 to 12 hours). Drop off point: Government Bus Stand, Manali Option of visiting Chandratal enroute or spending a night at Chandratal* Manali